The mystery behind the Balangiga bells





Been hearing a lot lately about Balangiga Bells, especially after President Duterte's second State of the Nation Address (SONA). So, what are these bells for, are these really ours? How is it related to the Philippine history? Here are the facts about the mystery of the three Balangiga bells.

The Balangiga bells are three church bells of a town church in Balangiga, Eastern Samar that were stolen by the United States Army in 1901 during the Philippine-American war. 

One of the three bells is in the possession of the 9th Infantry Regiment at Camp Red Cloud, at their base in South Korea. While the other two are at the former base of 11th Infantry Regiment, F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

It is said that one of the bells had signaled the attack to the US troops by our Filipino independence fighters while they were eating breakfast. (from Wikipedia)

On September 28, 1901, Filipino fighters from the village of Balangiga attacked the Company C of the 9th Infantry Regiment while eating breakfast. Seconds after the residents penetrated the American camp, a bell in the church rung to signal that they were being attacked. 

This incident led to killing of 48 people, 22 wounded men of the US troops, and four got the chance to escape. 

In revenge, General Jacob H. Smith ordered that Samar should be turned into “howling wilderness” and every Filipino male, ten years old and above that could carry firearms be killed. After the burning of the town’s Catholic church, the Americans got the three bells as “war booty”.

The other side of the story:
A history site (filipinoamericanwar.com), stated that the attack all started when two drunken soldiers tried to molest a girl tending a Tuba store in the town.The girl however, was rescued by her brothers and mauled the soldiers. 

In return, the Company Commander rounded up 143 male residents for forced labors to clean the whole plaza in preparation for the visit of their superiors. Aside from this, these residents were also detained overnight without food.

The tension further rose as the Filipino residents felt that they were aggravated, the townspeople planned the attack to the US Army on the said day, morning of September 28, 1901.

 Now, the two Balangiga bells are displayed and exhibited at the F.E Warren Air Force, in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the third one is in South Korea, at the Camp Red Cloud. 

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